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Showing posts from January, 2012

'Child malnutrition on decline, but levels still unacceptable'

India has seen a decrease in the prevalence of child malnutrition in the last seven years but the levels are still "unacceptably high", a new survey has found.
The prevalence of child underweight has decreased from 53 per cent to 42 per cent and this represents a 20.3 per cent decrease over a seven year period with an average annual rate of reduction of 2.9 per cent, according to the Hunger and Malnutrition (HUNGaMA) survey report.
The survey found that the rates of child malnutrition were still unacceptably high in the 100 focus districts with the poorest child development indicators where over 40 per cent of children were underweight and almost 60 per cent were stunted.
Conducted by Naandi Foundation across 112 rural districts, the survey found "positive change for child nutrition in India is happening, including in the 100 Focussed Districts."
The 100 Focus Districts are located across six states -- Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Prade…

Public utilities in India not child-friendly: Study

Public utilities in India, including railway stations, parks and bus-stands, are not child-friendly with a spurt in cases of abuse in these places, a study has claimed.
According to the study by an NGO, children are often victimised in public spaces with 87 per cent of railway security forces claiming to have come across cases of child abuse in some way or the other.
"Protection of children and their rights has become an urgent imperative with a rise in the number of cases of children being victimised in public spaces," study said.
The study claimed children were victims of sexual, physical and verbal abuse in these spaces with "the public doing little to intervene except play the role of onlookers".
Besides, it noted that the children are accorded "least priority" by the government while planning and implementing public services or amenities.
"The government has shown a low level of sensitivity to children and low levels of preparedness of child protecti…

Slew of corruption cases dented BJP's image in 2011

Fight for oneupmanship among the top brass in the BJP and a slew of corruption cases plaguing its governments in Karnataka and Uttarakhand blunted the main Opposition's attacks in 2011 against the Congress-led dispensation reeling under scams and policy paralysis.
83-year-old L K Advani, with his never-say-quit spirit, threw his hat in the ring one more time when he announced at the end of the Monsoon session of Parliament that he would take out yet another yatra across the country.
While the stated aim of the yatra was to take on the UPA government on corruption and black money, sections within the BJP and the RSS felt this was just a red herring and he was trying to project himself as a contender for prime ministerial candidate of the party in the next elections.
It was not surprising then that the 38-day yatra from Sitabdiara in Bihar to the capital could muster only a lukewarm response.
Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared to be at loggerheads when the latter k…

Education in 2011: Sibal's push for exam reforms, cheapest tablet PC

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal's unsuccessful efforts to get key legislations on reforms in higher education passed, his push for examination reforms, rise in IIT tuition fees and launch of world's cheapest tablet PC marked the year 2011 in the education sector.
None of the important legislations -- Education Tribunal Bill, the Foreign Education Providers Bill and the Copyright Bill -- could be passed in Parliament with repeated disruptions undoing his efforts.
He also had to face some embarrassing moments in the Upper House with members from both his party and from Opposition either objecting to some provisions in the bills or raising the issue of conflict of interest.
While he was in midst of building a consensus on introducing a single national test of engineering courses in IITs and other technical institutes, former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh comments about quality of faculty in IITs and IIMs raised his level of discomfiture.
Sibal though was quick to rubbish his remarks, s…

Delhi saw a slew of reforms in 2011

The shadow of corruption in the Commonwealth Games projects returned to haunt the Delhi government in 2011 but it shrugged off the allegations by initiating key reforms including a politically sensitive move to trifurcate MCD to improve governance and civic facilities.
The severe indictment by the Shunglu Committee and the CAG on CWG spendings had tarred the image of the Delhi government affecting its work but Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, also blamed for certain wrongdoings, pushed through a number of reforms.
One such initiative was implementation of Delhi Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services Act which makes babus liable to pay penalty to citizens for delay in delivering desired services within prescribed time limit.
So far, 6.13 lakh applicants have been provided various services under the provision of the law which had come into effect on September 15, in the backdrop of Anna Hazare's demand for citizens charter.
Another key initiative was introduction of the much-…